By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a lot of pressure on sales people, from customers, prospects, managers, and self-imposed pressure. The last thing sellers should do is add to that, but they do, every day, and in the most unnecessary ways. One way is focusing on things out of their control, spending resources, energy and time on things they can never fix; at times compounding the issue because they involve others in the discussion who are just as powerless to change things, and as result more time and resources down the drain.
Highlighting things that may not be working is not a bad thing, especially when the goal is to improve the client experience, add value, and or improve sales for you or the company. An example would be being part of the feedback loop, where direct feedback from customers via front line sales is invaluable. What’s at question here are the things that sellers complain about, or choose to focus on that do not bring value or are likely to be different as a result of the exercise.
The best way to avoid this time and energy sucking is to organize and compartmentalize. Start with a blank sheet of paper, or better yet a large dry erase board. Top centre, write down your key objective, it has to be concrete and quantifiable. A specific revenue objective, landing a specific account, or just opening the door at a named account. Then write down all perceived obstacles or barrios, perceived or real. Don’t think about it too much, write it down no matter how obvious or farfetched.
Once the list is up there, look at the list and eliminate the things that are not real, those that may have been one way a year ago, they have changed but you have not. Then eliminate those things that are real and an action plan has already been put in place. What you’ll have left is a short list of real things you can change, and list of things you cannot change or get someone to change on your behalf; and it really doesn’t matter if it is real or not, because the fact that you can’t change it trumps both.
The on the list that are real, things you change or impact, commit to changing or find someone willing to take ownership, but there has to be an owner, someone accountable for the outcome, and develop an action plan, including time lines, the start and end of the process.
As for the things you can’t change, don’t let them side track you. You can either find alternative ways of addressing the issue or move on. I am not suggesting you give up, but you know what they say about I moveable objects. You should always try to figure things out, consider alternative ways, but if they do not present themselves, then wasting time and resource will only put you behind. Complaining about them or letting them prevent you from succeeding should not be an option. Maybe you need to find another prospect. You’ll be surprised how creative you can get when you approach it like this; or how much sense it may make to move on and find a real, and winnable opportunity.
At times though, I can’t help but think that some sellers focus on things they can’t change as a means of avoiding things they can, and thing that do need to be done.
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